In the KBO League FA market last winter, all four catchers who were considered great players left their original team and moved to other teams. The LG Twins broke up after starting catcher Yoo Kang-nam, who was a franchise star, transferred to the Lotte Giants for a total of 8 billion won over 4 years of free agency. Then, LG immediately recruited Park Dong-won for 4 years as free agent for a total of 6.5 billion won to fill Yoo Gang-nam’s vacancy. Even before the start of the season, attention was drawn to how this year’s performance would be for LG, whose hostess has changed, and KIA, whose main catcher, Park Dong-won, has disappeared.

This season, LG has 26 wins, 1 draw and 14 losses as of the 22nd, with a win rate of 0.650, tied for first place with SSG Landers. Compared to last year, LG’s player composition has changed a lot and its biggest strength, the bullpen, has become weaker, but it is tied for the lead. One of the main players leading LG’s competition for first place is Park Dong-won.

Park Dong-won has a batting average of 0.262, 10 homers, 29 RBIs, and an OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage) of 0.911, leading the league in home runs and OPS. WAR (Based on Kaby Report), which indicates the contribution to victory compared to substitute players, is also 1.91, ranking first among fielders in the league.

※ LG Park Dong-won’s major records in the last 5 seasons

The LG batting line is evaluated that there is no time for the opposing pitcher to rest at all, including table setter Hong Chang-ki and Mun Seong-joo, center batting team Kim Hyeon-soo, Austin, and Oh Ji-hwan, and low-ranking batting team Park Dong-won.

This season, LG ranked first with a team batting average of 0.290, tied for fifth with 23 home runs, first with an OPS of 0.775, and ranked first with an average score per game of 5.32. All important indicators of team hitting except for home runs are ranked first. In the KBO League, the early season shows a two-and-a-half pattern, but there is talk of riding and two-passing as much as LG’s other line. The addition of geopo Park Dong-won is adding a sense of weight to LG’s lineup.

If Park Dong-won continues his current batting pace, at the end of the regular season, 35 home runs and 102 RBIs are enough to aim for the home run king and MVP. It is a figure that far exceeds the 22 home runs and 83 RBIs in 2021, when Park Dong-won took a career high while playing for Kiwoom Heroes. LG has never produced a home run king or regular season MVP until the time of its predecessor, MBC Blue Dragon. 스포츠토토

However, a realistic theory is emerging that it will be difficult for Park Dong-won to continue his hot pace. Park Dong-won’s defensive innings are 318, the highest among catchers in the league. Except for Park Dong-won, there is no catcher in the league who has worn a mask for more than 300 innings. 

LG is registering young backup catcher Kim Ki-yeon in the first team, but the range of utilization is very limited. Coach Yeom Gyeong-yeop appointed Kim Ki-yeon as the exclusive catcher for left-hander starting pitcher Kim Yun-sik for a while. However, against the Hanwha Eagles in Jamsil on the 21st, Park Dong-won teamed up with Kim Yun-sik and kept his home until the game was over. 

Park Dong-won’s hot batting pace has recently been subsiding, as if the accumulated defensive innings acted as a burden. Last weekend against Hanwha in three consecutive games, he was sluggish with 1 hit in 12 at-bats, 1 RBI and 5 strikeouts. In particular, he struck out a lot because he couldn’t resist the temptation of his opponent’s persistent breaking ball. LG won a winning series with 2 wins and 1 draw in 3 consecutive matches over the weekend, but Park Dong-won’s silence overlapped and there was no game that scored more than 5 points.

The voice that proper defense inning management for Park Dong-won is closely related to whether or not to maintain batting pace is gaining strength. It is noteworthy whether Park Dong-won, who is making a big success in his first year of free agency, will be able to achieve a career high and win his first championship ring after his professional debut.

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